Dane Co. Board to meet in-person for first time in 2+ years

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – For the first time in more than two years, Dane Co. Supervisors will have the opportunity to look each other in the eye when they gather to debate the county’s business. On Thursday, the run of virtual Board of Supervisors meetings spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic will come to an end with county leaders assemble at the Alliant Energy Center.

“The pandemic has forced us to do business in different ways, including how we hold meetings,” County Board Chair Patrick Miles said. “I am eager for the next phase of public meetings that will allow us to have in-person discussion and debate, while also realizing that we are still in a pandemic and need to remain flexible and accessible to the public.”

Ironically, after dozens of meetings held solely online, there will be no online option to tune into Thursday meeting. Anyone wishing to attend will need to be in AEC’s Mendota Rooms at 7 p.m. The Board indicated that hybrid options for future meetings are in the works.

During the session, Supervisors are expected to sign off on spending $2 million to purchase property that will be leased to the Urban League for its Black Business Hub and accelerator program, the Dane Co. Executive’s Office said in a statement Thursday morning.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with the Urban League of Greater Madison in this effort to develop a space where Dane County entrepreneurs of color can gather to gain the support, experience, and skills they need to thrive,” Dane Co. Executive Joe Parisi said. His office explained that the center, which will be located in the parking lot of The Village on Park Street, will provide and incubator and networking opportunities for Black and other entrepreneurs of color.

Black Business Hub location revealed

“The Hub will address the disparities that Black businesses face and create an economic support system that will continue to build wealth in the community for multiple generations,” Urban League President and CEO Ruben Anthony said, noting the support the project has received from public and private organizations, including UW Health, Exact Sciences, and the foundation created by American Girl founder Pleasant Rowland.

The $25 million initiative, which will serve the entire Madison region, is designed to contain retail and office space as well as spots for co-working and room for pop-up vending, meetings, and events.

The agenda for the meeting shows Supervisors will weigh whether to appoint an independent investigator to look into issues raised in a recent Wisconsin State Journal report.

The Board will also use its first June session to commemorate LGBTQ+ Pride Month. A resolution expected to be approved Thursday will honor the gains made by the LGBTQ+ community and the challenges its members still face, as well as activists fighting for greater equality.

“With the ever changing world, pride means different things to different people.  With that in mind, it was important to take a look at where we are as citizens and where we stand as a County on June 1, 2022 and recognize and celebrate the full spectrum of the Queer Community,” Dist. 16 Supervisor Rick Rose said.

Separately, with the meeting happening on the eve of the National Gun Violence Awareness Day, another resolution will mark that day in Dane County, noting that firearms deaths exceeded traffic-related ones by more than 13 percent in 2020 and a third resolution will set June 15, 2022, as World Elder Abuse Day in the county.

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